Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetic Paradigms

icon: previous page

the author and recipient of a work are equally important, and advocates a much broader conception of the aesthetic dimension which, deeming it to be a dialogical practice, he places within the overall context of cultural, philosophical and historical practice. His only partially surviving essay on the problem of the author was written probably in the first half of the 1920s, but first published in 1975 in Russian. However, the fragments that are available throw some light on his basic ideas, and although his deliberations refer to literature they can be applied to other areas of art. Bakhtin initially questions the significance usually conceded to the ‹material› with which the author works, namely language. He puts it that a writer does not create within the world of language, but merely makes use of language. In regard to the means, the artistic work determined by a writer’s main concern might be described as a transgression of the material. [21] This approach bears some resemblance to two other previously described positions that break with tradition: first, the critical view of the central importance of object and material in aesthetic discourse; second, information theory and its excessive


interest in the sign.

According to Bakhtin it is necessary to understand not the technical apparatus of creation, but its immanent logic; the context in which the creative act is carried out must always be taken into consideration. In other words, Bakhtin says that the predominance awarded to material and/or form reduces artistic work to a secondary and determined stage.

After the ‹transgression of the material› it is equally necessary to redefine the role of author and recipient. Bakhtin introduces the question of the ‹crisis of authorship›, and argues that it is not to be viewed exclusively in connection with the individual and his creative area, but implies a redefinition of the actual ‹place› of art within culture. The objective of the artist should have been not to surpass other artists but art itself. As Bakhtin sees it, this crisis is related to the rejection of cultural determinism; and in this manner a bridge could be set up between his thinking and the idea of ‹art beyond art.›The author is viewed as a component inherent to the work of art, a component reflected in the audience’s process of reception. With the work coming into being as the point of departure,

icon: next page